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North Hills Monthly

Pushing the Limits with the Pittsburgh Triathlon and Adventure Race

Jul 31, 2016 08:20PM ● By Clare Heekin Lynch

A lot of runners, cyclists and even nonathletes toy with the idea of trying a triathlon, but are often daunted by the training regimen, the high level of discipline, and even the expense it takes to participate in one. 

For area resident Vicki Dolan, though, the mental and physical challenge of continuously pushing herself, along with the feeling of euphoria when crossing that finish line, is all she needs to keep coming back for more. “I enjoy pushing myself to the limit to train and compete, and there are so many reasons I do it,” she said. “First of all, triathlons are enjoyable and promote a healthy lifestyle. Secondly, it is a great stress relief and really builds up my confidence, and I get to meet new friends and training partners while doing it. 

“In many cases, the races are also tied in with fundraisers for great organizations, like the Friends of the Riverfront,” she continued. “This August, I am participating in the Pittsburgh Triathlon and Adventure Race with an amazing group called Team Phenomenal Hope to help bring awareness and raise money to find a cure for pulmonary hypertension.”

The Race

This year’s 19th annual Pittsburgh Triathlon, sponsored by First National Bank, is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, August 13-14. It was created in 1998 by the nonprofit organization Friends of the Riverfront as a fundraising event that showcases recreational use of the rivers and trails. 

Produced by Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon, Inc. (P3R), the triathlon includes the USA Triathlon-sanctioned bike/run/swim event as well as the Adventure Race, a bike/run/paddle in either a kayak or canoe. A Triathlon Sprint—half the distances of full-length international triathlon competitions—is also available to participants.

“This triathlon is a great way to see the city and meet new people,” said P3R Chief Operating Officer Dee Stathis. “The run course is along the beautiful Three Rivers Heritage Trail—a pedestrian trail and greenway system in the Pittsburgh area, covering 37 miles along both sides of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers.” The trail also connects to the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP), the developing Erie to Pittsburgh Trail, and the Pittsburgh to Harrisburg Main Line Canal Greenway.

This year, the Pittsburgh Triathlon is mixing things up by featuring an adventure race, sprint triathlon, and an Olympic distance triathlon. “More information on the exact breakout of the events throughout the weekend can be found online, but there is going to be so much for the athletes and spectators to enjoy,” Stathis said. “The transition point for the water races will be at Point State Park, and between watching the athletes transition and partaking in all of the vendors and activities going on in the area all weekend, bystanders will really appreciate all of the excitement.”

The race is also unique because it offers a relay aspect to each leg. “This allows for another great opportunity for those who are interested in participating but are not sure how to just jump right in and do it,” said Stathis. “And if you are a strong runner but not swimmer, you can team up with someone who is and complete the entire race together.” 

Anyone who wants to give back to the Friends of the Riverfront, the group that helps build and maintain the Three Rivers Heritage Trail, can register online at For more information on Friends of the Riverfront, visit